When in­sult re­veals the in­ner boy

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

John Kerry’s not-so-re­mark­able in­sult of the troops in Iraq and ev­ery­where else an Amer­i­can sol­dier stands watch shouldn’t sur­prise any­one.

The in­tem­per­ate re­marks of Teresa’s tall, gaunt boy toy are an ac­cu­rate ex­pres­sion of the con­tempt the in­tel­lec­tual elites, and some of the notso-smart who merely as­pire to in­tel­lec­tu­al­hood, hold for what the rest of us cher­ish clos­est and dear­est.

The sen­a­tor’s slur in con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony four decades ago against the men with whom he served in Viet­nam — “they had per­son­ally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads [. . . ] cut off limbs, blown up bod­ies, shot at civil­ians, razed vil­lages in fash­ion rem­i­nis­cent of Genghis Khan [. . . ] poi­soned food stocks and gen­er­ally rav­aged the coun­try­side [. . . ] ” — was of a piece with ev­ery­thing he would say af­ter­ward.

Two years later, he sug­gested that the United States would one day dis­patch an army of il­lit­er­ates and louts to a place like, for ex­am­ple, Iraq. “I am con­vinced a vol­un­teer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown,” he wrote in re­ply to a ques­tion­naire when he ran for a House seat in 1972. “[. . . ] I also fear hav­ing a pro­fes­sional army that views the per­pet­u­a­tion of war crimes as sim­ply ‘do­ing its job.’ ”

That was the sen­a­tor’s view of the coun­try that he, with breath­tak­ing chutz­pah, once asked to lead. He knew his rant wasn’t so when he said it, but slan­der of the in­no­cent was a small price to pay to the Kerry cause. It’s not just John Kerry who can’t put Viet­nam be­hind him. Sey­mour Hersh, once a Pulitzer Prize-win­ning jour­nal­ist who has aban­doned jour­nal­ism for po­lit­i­cal ad­vo­cacy in his de­clin­ing years, told an au­di­ence at McGill Univer­sity in Toronto the other day that Amer­i­cans who honor sol­diers re­turn­ing from Iraq have got it all wrong.

If Amer­i­cans knew the full ex­tent of U.S. crim­i­nal con­duct they would re­ceive re­turn­ing Iraqi vet­er­ans as they did Viet­nam vet­er­ans. “In Viet­nam,” he said, “our sol­diers came back, and they were re­viled as baby killers, in shame and hu­mil­i­a­tion. It isn’t hap­pen­ing now, but I will tell you — there has never been an [Amer­i­can] army as vi­o­lent and mur­der­ous as our army has been in Iraq. In Wash­ing­ton, you can’t ex­pect any ra­tio­nal­ity. I don’t know if [Pres­i­dent Bush] is in Iraq be­cause God told him to, be­cause his fa­ther didn’t do it or be­cause it’s the next step in his 12-step Al­co­holics Anony­mous pro­gram [. . . ] How frag­ile is democ­racy in Amer­ica if a pres­i­dent can come in with an agenda con­trolled by a few cultists?”

Sey­mour Hersh does not ex­plain who th­ese “cultists” may be, but he doesn’t have to. The loonies courted by Mr. Kerry are so drunk on the moon­shine dis­tilled by the dark of the moon in the swamps and sticks on the Demo­cratic left that they chug-a-lug it with­out even a glance at the la­bel or care for what may be in it.

The most out­landish pre­dic­tions of catas­tro­phe and doom, of the sort the cra­zies usu­ally in­sist are broad­cast to them through tiny re­ceivers im­planted in their teeth by the CIA, are taken as Gospel. But no one any longer needs to lis­ten to their teeth. There’s the In­ter­net. One typ­i­cal In­ter­net blog­ger wad­ing aim­lessly through the fever swamps, per­haps af­ter hav­ing CIA den­tal work af­ter all, sug­gests that the Pa­triot Act will en­able the pres­i­dent to abuse his en­e­mies af­ter this month’s elec­tions.

“Will Bush do that to­mor­row?” he asks. “Prob­a­bly not with any­one we know, but who knows what the fu­ture holds? Who knows the des­per­ate acts Bush-Cheney might com­mit next year [. . . ] Hitler didn’t ap­pear evil in the be­gin­ning. He was an up-and­com­ing young man as he se­cretly gath­ered power, changed rules and strong-armed his de­trac­tors into sub­mis­sion. If Bush fol­lows suit, we can ex­pect the White House or the Capi­tol to burn in the night soon [. . . ] by 2008 the most power-mad pres­i­dent in our his­tory could very well de­clare an emer­gency so great that fu­ture elec­tions are sus­pended. Any­one tak­ing is­sue with such an idea could find them­selves in a for­eign coun­try naked, wired up with vi­cious dogs tak­ing chunks out of their [rear ends] [. . . ] The Repub­li­cans must be stopped on Novem­ber 7th.”

To pa­thetic loonies like this, the Kerry in­sult seemed not out­ra­geous, but the timid work of a wussie. His “apol­ogy,” such as it was, was the out­rage. Teresa’s boy toy should only raise the tem­per­a­ture of his rhetoric and turn up the vol­ume, so the masses could lis­ten to their teeth.

Wesley Pruden is ed­i­tor in chief of The Times.

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